Fabric FL150 front and rear light - review - Road Cycling UK

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Fabric FL150 front and rear light – review

Innovative, versatile and durable light lives up to Somerset-brand's promise of market-leading products

Somerset-based Fabric diversified their portfolio for 2017, adding lights and pumps to a portfolio already brimming with excellent saddles and tools. And the Fabric FL150 light definitely ranks among the most innovative and useful lights on the market today.

When they launched their model year 2017 offerings back in June of last year, Fabric supremo Nick Larsen promised everything in the range outperforms its competitors, else it wouldn’t go to market.

And the FL150, alongside being unique in serving as a front or rear light – with both a main beam and four LEDs – boasts a good light output, decent battery life and is easy to charge. Our only gripe is that the mount could be a little easier to use.

Fabric FL150 features a main CREE LED beam but also a bank of four LEDs, which can put out red or white light and therefore operate as a front or rear light dependent on your needs

Fabric have made a name for themselves recently with some really well designed pieces of kit, such as the Scoop Flat Pro saddle and Chamber multi-tool which both featured in last year’s RCUK100.

And of the current range, the FL150 was one of the lights – all of which are well-suited to the commuter market – that hit the headlines thanks to its innovative design and versatility.

The compact (20mmx77mm) aluminium-bodied unit features a CREE LED up front and then a row of additional LEDs along the body. Those LEDs produce either white or red light, meaning it can be both a front or rear light.

And it is simple to switch between uses – you just hold the first LED and then switch between sequences using the same button.

Talking of lighting modes, you get a choice of three for the bank of four LEDs – solid, strobe and slow flash – and four for the main beam, namely high, low, strobe and slow flash.

It’s a good range of options for riding in different conditions and while the maximum output – 150 lumens for the headlamp and 30 lumens for the LEDs – is not the most powerful, the versatility of the light more than makes up for that.

The fact it can be mounted in different positions is both a strength and a weakness, however. Clearly, it’s useful to have a light that can do everything but as it needs to be able to sit on a rear stay, handlebars or a seat post, the mount is incredibly difficult to get on and off the latter two.

At one point, it even had me reaching for some needle nose pliers to get it on, as I found the tabs weren’t big enough to get a decent grip on for the amount of force needed.

The mount is tricky to use, but switching between modes on the light is simple

Battery life on the light is pretty good – seven hours for the headlamp on flash or strobe, and 19 hours for the LEDs (also flash or strobe) – and charging is also very easy. You simply pull the light out from the mounts and plug it into the computer like a USB stick. Charging through my laptop took about three hours, which is pretty good compared to others I’ve used recently.

For a 150-lumen front light, some might baulk at the £39.99 price tag, but given how useful the light is, I don’t think the price tag should be a turn off.

Conclusion

The Fabric FL150 light is genuinely one of the most innovative lights I have come across and has become my staple emergency light, which I carry around with me in case others break. The one downside, in my opinion, is the difficulty with the mount, but given the upsides of the light, this is forgivable.

Pros

  • Innovative light that can be used front or rear
  • Multiple mounting options
  • Easy to charge and decent battery life

Cons

  • Mount is hard to use
  • Expensive when compared to other 150-lumen front lights

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